private pilot ground school Articles | Index    

Learning From Your Mistakes
2007-10-11

Learning From Your Mistakes

A mistake is painful because we have been conditioned to experience humiliation and shame. We expect ourselves to be able to perform. When we don't or can't, our internal critics tell us that we should be able to do better. Where an external critic adds to the internal embarrassment we react with fear that all such mistakes will recreate the emotional trauma.

Perhaps the biggest mistake in the exercise of good judgment is a failure to hear the voice of your own experience. Your own experiences are not just what happens to you, it's what you believe about what has happened to you. Your life experience at play or work has prepared you for many of the coming flights. Already you have had to unlearn, practice, study, relearn, and forget. You are about to relive your life experiences again. A mistake is an opportunity to find what works for you--and what doesn't. Recovery from a mistake should give you a good feeling. You have recovered, learned and reflected. All of which will make you a better pilot.

When a pilot enters a situation with uncertainty the chances are that his flying skills will be lessened. He will be spending at least some brain cycles dealing with stress and the fears caused by the uncertainty. Being told to relax by the instructor is not going to help. Your ability to cope will only be achieved by exposure and experience. The unexpected is always present as part of learning to fly. Keep your priorities in order, fly the plane FIRST, navigate and then communicate. You won't learn from your mistakes if you fail to acknowledge it as 'yours'. Denial of your part in creation of a flying mistake will only cause it to be repeated. The most dangerous flying mistake is the one you 'get away' with perhaps by not recognizing it as a mistake.

Flying is an art that takes knowledge, time, intensity, concentration and self-discipline. In the beginning there are likely to be deficiencies in knowledge and self-discipline. There will be excesses of intensity and concentration. A student's perception of success and failure is often based upon erroneous assumptions. Making mistakes is part of the process. Asking questions is part of the process. Being upset with yourself and the instructor is part of the process. A mistake is not a failure. It is a survivable learning experience. The worse thing that can arise from a mistake in judgment or performance is for the person to believe that he can 'get away' with it again.

Making mistakes is the "wake up call" part of the learning/flying process. Mistakes are not an enemy of learning. A recognized mistake is a learning success. Think of a flying mistake as an experiment that failed to produce the desired result. With each mistake/experiment you can eliminate procedures that don't produce desired results. The art of making flying mistakes is to turn them into tools of learning and prevention. Efficiency in learning is through remembering the results of your experiments. Student mistakes are what instructors see best. This instructor critiques student mistakes to make sure the cause, effect, and solution become apparent to the student. Instructor "mistakes" are deliberate efforts to see if the student is paying attention. Yeah!

The opportunity to make mistakes without fear of harm is an important part of the training process. I prefer to let flying mistakes develop in the process of flight training at least to the point of student awareness. I will then, if conditions allow, take a moment to discuss the cause, result and correction. I re-establish the mistake situation and help the student work it out more safely. Otherwise, I save the problem for ground discussion and a next flight review. On occasion, I will deliberately create a situation that calls upon the student to correct a mistake. The safe correction of a potential problem is another essential student skill. All good instructors let their students make mistakes. All good instructors do not allow a specific mistake to become habitual or even occasional.

When an instructor tells you of a mistake, resist the urge to defend yourself or deny that a problem exists. Assume your critic to be right and of having the best of intentions to help you. Learn to live with all your mistakes, especially flying mistakes, without suffering. Use your internal critic to alert you of a coming mistake, but don't allow it to influence your stress level. Always, the instructor's premise is that you can do better next time.

Self-analysis of your flying is important. Develop a curiosity about what part went right until it went wrong. Do this in terms of where you feel weak, deficient, or insecure. Look for your mistakes. A few minutes reading, a short instructional flight, or a solo flight directed to a specific area is money and time well spent. If anxiety exists but you are uncertain as to the area or cause, take a flight review. Proficiency is the best flying insurance policy. You may not know what you don't know, but when you do know there is something you don't know, get help. When you are working to do every-thing right it is never boring.

You will better understand a difficulty or flying mistake by getting feedback from other pilots. Share your experiences and listen to similar experiences shared by others. You will never be able to create a unique flying mistake. Go back to your instructor and review the series of events from beginning to end. This changes a critic into a mentor. In a single-pilot operation, you know there's no one else to remind you so you pay closer attention, or at least you should.

There are good mistakes. A good mistake leads you into finding a better way of solving or avoiding a subsequent mistake. Not every solution will work. Share your solutions. Don't try to re-invent the wheel. Seek the opinion of others and alternate solutions. Read as much as your time allows about the experiences and mistakes of other flyers. Read their post-mistake advice. The advice that is given to others is wiser than the advice we give to ourselves. The objectivity of a story about a mistake allows others to see why specific mistakes are made and how they can be avoided. The highest level of learning is when students benefit from the experience of another.

Written by Gene Whitt

Comment

 
 External Links
 Recent articles
Landings on Final
Over the fence Vref U U 5 knots or 1 2 Vso No exact POH figures BR B Soft field Approach...

Phonetic Alphabet and Time Zones
In 1914 the U S Army adopted a phonetic alphabet but Spanish pronunciations created problem In 1927 a worldwide agreement of words and spelling...

General Aviation Accidents
1 51 of pilots were between 40 49 BR 2 71 were private pilots BR 3 52 had...

FAA Instructional Format
FAA instruction is based on early 1900 educational theory and practice Most learning is visual but requires repetition and reinforcement for adequate retention ...

Rectangular Patterns
P Under calm conditions almost any rectangle can be used If there is a wind the longest leg of the rectangles should be planned to be...

Go-around
Power to full BR Hold heading and altitude BR Milk flaps or to 20 degrees according to IAS BR At Vy flaps up and climb...

Instruction use of MS Flight Simulator
I can MS Simulator be a helpful for my flight training i p At the end of WWII I was...

Prevention of taxiing problems
P Communicate BR Use airport diagram BR Get ATC help early BR When in doubt ...

Smoothness
Piloting skill is usually poorly defined unless the smoothness factor is included It is only by the smallest increments of control pressures that a skilled...

Procedures and Techniques
Every phase of flying requires a series of procedures from pre flight to shut down With every procedure for what needs to be done...

Ear Block
P Caused when the Eustachian tube becomes blocked Earblock or sinus blockages can cause differential air pressures to exist between cavities of the skull and the exterior...

Slow Flight
No maneuvers below 1500 BR 1 2 Vs1 at 10 and 5 knots BR Altitude within 100 and airspeed within 10 and ...

Command Authority
FAR 91 3: quot;The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for and is the final authority as to the operation ...

Before Takeoff Check
Emergency procedures review BR Door belts smoke engine BR POH distances and performance BR Departure plan review BR Clearing BR...

Reaction and Anticipation
P In searching for an appropriate place for this material I was surprised at how often the terms appeared the variety of context and application to...

A Training Program
P I make a practice of having prospective students come to my home office for a couple of hours to discuss flying I request that...

VFR Midairs
82 occur by one aircraft being overtaken from the rear BR 35 occur with convergence less than 10 degrees BR ...

Cross-Country Planning
I REFERENCES: AC 61 21 AC 61 23 AC 61 84 Charts A FD AIM I BR ...

Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR)
P Broadcast by ATC to warn air traffic to remain clear of areas such as open air affairs forest fires space launches crime scenes ...

Aborted Takeoff
P once is enough BR It is all too common to have a seat slide back during initial takeoff acceleration For this reason the...

Are You Ready?
In the real world of life some things are done too soon Getting married having children picking fruit and going into your own business are...

Soft Field
In ground effect to Vy remove flaps at 200 BR Climb at Vy 10 and 5 knots ...

Buchannan Field (at Concord, California)
Within the immediate vicinity of Buchannan Field Concord CA there have been over seven airports over the years One of the very first...

About Questions
P A friend was hauling a body from a remote location in Canada Only a caretaker was around the strip After considering the trees that lined...

Teaching Memory
P The way an instructor presents material has a great influence on student retention of what is being taught Trauma is proven to be the absolute best...

What to Expect from Fatigue
Reduced vigilance BR Increased temper excursions BR Reduced ability to concentrate BR Reduce awareness of deviations BR Increased rationalization of errors BR...

Fuel Accidents
ul li The number one cause of engine failure is lack of fuel BR li 10 of General Aviation accidents are caused...

What to expect on your first solo
P Solo preparation began on the first flight Now the FARs require specific paper work study and testing Student skill and knowledge for...

Instruction
Initially the ground instruction begins with basic background and theory The flight lesson is predicated by the use of preflight and Postflight briefings...

Not Making Progress?
P I doubt that there is a pilot flying who has not at one time or another felt the twinge of doubt that his learning curve is not...

Learning To Fly Young
You really don t need to go to a flying school to learn to fly The schools tend to be quite expensive I hope you live...

Prohibited Areas
Don #146;t fly here ever White House Personal residence of President Area within 5 miles of president is prohibited airspace at any time Some prohibited...

Hundred Octane Aviation Fuel
Interestingly of all machines only airplanes have their own fuel BR BR In the late 1930s light weight and compact engines were being developed...

It's About Judgement
P In flying there are as many ways to gain skill and experience as there are pilots Time alone is a very poor criteria Once pilot...

Illusions - Natural Illusions
P B Rain B BR Rain gives the illusion of being higher than you actually are Combined with haze you will fly...

River Flying with Steep Turns
P On some subsequent lesson it is well to select an upwind track along a very S shaped course By flying upwind the relative ground speed...

Teaching Airplane English
I am in the process of #39;re treading #39; two pilots who have radio problems They are both experienced complex high performance ...

Visualizing Your Training
P A student pilot or any other pilot for that matter can practice flying even while not in a plane A situation can be visualized ...

Hood Lessons
P Since hood work is emotionally and mentally tiring it is best to limit each session Gradually extend the hood time until reaching 20 minute sessions ...

Run-up
Control check BR Engine check BR Instrument settings BR Uses checklist BR Airspeed distances review BR Emergency and departure review...

Spin Awareness (Discussion)
Flight situations where spins may occur BR Recognize a spin and apply recovery technique BR Techniques specific to aircraft BR power off and flaps up...

Uncontrolled Airport Radio
P Start listening well away from the airport Overfly above pattern altitude if you are uncertain of pattern or procedures Adhere to AIM recommended procedures ...

Written Tests
Private Pilot Written Test figures: P P 1997: Total tests taken 32 981 92 1 passed the test average ...

Non-IFR Pilot
ul li 1 accident in 12 186 hours in IFR conditions BR li 1 accident in 94 819 hours...

When A Pilot Dies
Two of my pilots have died in airplane crashes One I had advised to quit and I thought that he had Three years later ...

Determining Performance and Limitations
P I REFERENCES: AC 61 21 AC 61 23 AC 61 84 Airplane Handbook and Flight Manual I P ...

Airworthiness Directives (ADs)
P FAR 91 403 a requires that an AD compliance record be kept Some AD are one time and others recurring They notify aircraft owners...

Coffee
Coffee causes dehydration 15 dehydration causes 40 decrease in flying coordination Water by volume X 1 5 is needed to replace ...

Short Field Takeoffs
Rotate at Vx or as recommended BR Climb at Vx 10 or 5 knots to 50 BR Above 50 climb at Vy 10...

Passenger Boarding Information
Welcome aboard this non commercial flight in the vicinity of San Francisco We will be departing shortly and with any luck at all will...

 Related Links
 
©2010 4VFR.COM, All Rights Reserved Powered by 4vfr.com